Political Science Courses
Below are all of the courses you have to choose from in this academic major. Some are required while others are electives. Please view the course catalog to see what is required to earn a degree in this major.
Oral Communication (SCA 130)
Students develop informative, persuasive, and expressive speaking proficiencies. Practice in personal communication skills, writing for the ear, effective listening, oral reports, and the use of body language, visual aids, technologies, and occasions to motivate and enhance communication. Fall and spring semesters and ADP session 4. 3 credits.
Shaping Public Opinion (SCA 340)
Study of the Constitution and the press, free speech, religion, assembly, and petition clauses that shape public discourse and artistic endeavors. Review of graffiti, art, political cartoons, editorials, blogs, and public statements. Effects of social media on vox populi and the force, impact, and challenge to a democracy. Spring semester, even-numbered years. 3 credits.
Historical & Political Geography (SHY 106)
An introduction to geographic thought with emphasis on the importance of geographical factors in history and politics. Spring semester. 3 credits. Fee.
The U.S. Civil Rights Movement (SHY 337)
A survey of the politics, events, and individuals involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, focusing on the post-World War II era. May be taken as political science elective. Satisfies the U.S. Cultures requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Upper level students only. Spring semester, odd-numbered years. 3 credits.
Introduction to Political Science (SPS 103)
A comprehensive introduction to the study of political science. Key concepts and theories are explored. Emphasis on the development and organization of the modern state; functions, processes, and ideologies of contemporary political systems; and introduction to the subfields of political science. Fall semester. 3 credits.
Introduction to Global Studies (SPS 105)
THis course provides an overview of historical and current topics in global politics, assessed through the lens of globalization and global governance theories. Students learn how to follow and analyze current events related to these topics using contemporary news sources. Students assess the work and value-added of global actors such as nation-states, non-governmental and non-profit organizations, inter-governmental organizations, multi-national corporations, government-supported and private research organizations, and public policy organizations. Fall semester. 3 credits. Fee.
American National Government (SPS 121)
The background and general principles of American government with emphasis on the Constitution; critical analysis of political processes, political behavior, and aspects of public policy. Spring semester. 3 credits. Fee.
Introduction to American Law (SPS 122)
This course provides an overview of the U.S. legal system with emphasis on the Constitutional framework of American law. Spring semester. 3 credits. Fee.
Comparative Politics (SPS 204)
A comparative examination of the world's different governmental and political systems and political culture, both Western and non-Western. Emphasis on European political systems and non-Western political systems including China, Russia, and Iran. Spring semester, odd numbered years. 3 credits.
Inside Washington (SPS 205)
This course provides behind-the-scene perspectives on Washington politics, power, and public policy. Course is offered in Washington,DC. Lectures, site visits, tours, and special events allow students to see the impact of the political process and learn how the nation’s leaders address important contemporary issues. Student must apply and be accepted into the “Washington Experience” program sponsored by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. All expenses of the experience are the student’s responsibility. J-term. 0-3 credits. Pass/Fail only.
Genocide and Human Rights (SPS 206)
This course explores human rights as an important international norm that is reflected in policies, practices, and laws at the international and national levels. It addresses such topics as: the use of military force to promote human rights; the development of international criminal courts; humanitarian and human rights law; crimes against humanity; and ethnic cleansing. Satisfies the Global Perspectives requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Fall semester. 3 credits.
State & Local Government (SPS 222)
A comprehensive introduction to the Pennsylvania governmental structure - - state and municipal - - and its role in our federalist system. Explores the historic and present-day relationship between the Federal government and the Pennsylvania government and its people. Fall semester, even-numbered years. 3 credits. Fee.
Political Theory (SPS 235)
A survey of Western political thought and philosophy with emphasis on modern political ideologies. Writing Intensive course. Prerequisite: SPS103. Spring semester, odd numbered years. 3 credits.
International Relations (SPS 242)
Introductory analysis of major theories of international relations and their applications to current problems of world politics. Differing perspectives on the nature of the international system; the significance of power and global norms; patterns of conflict and cooperation between nations; and role and influence of non-state actors. Fall semester. 3 credits. Fee.
Global Political Economy (SPS 315)
This course introduces students to the actors, politics, historical and contemporary events, and decision-making procedures in the global market system. The production and trade of goods and services throughout the world are analyzed and examined through case studies. Different types of economic systems are assessed with discussion of the changes in globalization over the past two centuries. Using the perspectives of economic liberalism, mercantilism, and structuralism consideration is given to how money and power are distributed throughout the global economy by analyzing state economic policies, development and underdevelopment, and inequality. Satisfies the Global Perspectives of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Spring semester even-numbered years. 3 credits. Fee.
Politics of the Sixties (SPS 338)
The enduring legacy of the 1960’s; the sixties as an historic period of culmination in U.S. politics; movements, ideologies, and pressures of the social and political movements of that era. Satisfies the U. S. Cultures requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Fall semester, even-numbered years. 3 credits.
American Foreign Policy (SPS 342)
Content and formation of American foreign policy since World War I. Emphasis on the formal and informal institutions and structures which contribute to the making of foreign policy, including domestic politics. Focus is on the dilemma of America's role as global sheriff in world affairs. Spring semester, even-numbered years. 3 credits.
Topics in American Politics (SPS 390)
This course approaches different topics in political science relating to periods of significant political development and change over the course of US history from the Twentieth Century to the present. Students use primary and secondary materials for in-depth study of the topics area including analysis of competing perspectives and interpretations of political issues and events and must complete a research project. Satisfies the U.S. Cultures requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Fall semester. Repeatable for credit. 3 credits.
Topics in Global Affairs (SPS 392)
This course covers a variety of topical issues in global affairs, including peacemaking, human rights, global governance, and democratization. Satisfies the Global Perspectives component of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Repeatable for credit. Spring semester. 3 credits.
Public Policy Seminar (SPS 400)
Development and implementation of government policy at the national level. Students research and report on the development of policy in particular issue areas such as military and defense or welfare policies. Juniors and seniors only. Prerequisite: SPS405. Spring semester, even numbered years. 3 credits.
Research Methods (SPS 405)
This course introduces students to the debates and methods that deal with the scientific study of political phenomena. Students learn to write in the field and develop a research design, as well as practice the variety of methods used to conduct research in political science. Fall semester, odd-numbered years. Prerequisites: SPS103 and SSS250. 3 credits.
Internship (SPS 430)
Open to qualified political science majors and minors. Ordinarily taken for 3 credits. Repeatable for credit. Permission required. Variable credit.
Genocide in Comparative Perspective (SSO 306)
Places the Holocaust and other cases of genocide in comparative historical and cultural context. Investigates factors that cause genocide, the use of survivor testimony in documenting genocide, and the role of the international community in responding to acts of genocide. Satisfies the Global Perspectives requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. ADP session 3. 3 credits.
Introductory Statistics (SSS 250)
Designed to develop quantitative literacy, enabling students to produce, understand, and communicate statistical information. Prepares students to conduct research. Explores descriptive and inferential statistics that include parametric (Z, t, F) and non-parametric (chi-square) probability distributions. Ability to make recommendations based upon interpretation of statistical software output is emphasized. Satisfies the Mathematics requirement of the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Fall and spring semesters and ADP sessions 1, 3, and 4. 3 credits.